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The Reading Series: Ben Pease's Fugitives of Speech

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The Reading Series is a new feature spotlighting videos from contemporary poets.

Already I take up
Less emotional space than a snowdrop.

-- James Merrill

This video poem includes the epic-poem-in-progress "Fugitives of Speech," where time slows down, attempts to speed up, and settles occasionally on the past and the possible future. Ben Pease makes a collage out of videos that respond to Sheer in his present moment, and in the reality that he corresponds to outside of the physical world. Sheer has a layer of responsibilities, and he doesn't focus on his present task at hand without contributing his thoughts to other worries. His thoughts go to his coach jamming out to Iron Maiden (a form of tension relief), his need to finish a term paper on Keats, his guilt for not calling Mallender. Starting the video with "White House sources have refused to confirm or deny that report," Pease paints a picture of Sheer's uncertainty. His wayfarer mood is compounded with a moral conscious. And all the while we want to Sheer to succeed, or to "speed easily onward, through flowers and weed."